JENKINS -- Sunset Cinema owners Clayton and Sandy Sundvall aren't big fans of "Star Wars." They are, however, big fans of "Star Wars" fans.
It's those fans, many no doubt dressed as Darth Vader and other characters, who likely will give the five-screen Jenkins theater its first sellout. On Tuesday, Sunset had sold about half of the 165 seats for its midnight Wednesday screening of "Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith."
Until then, "it's a big waiting game," Sandy said.
The Pine River couple, he a constructor and she a teachers' aide, opened the northern Brainerd lakes movie theater April 29. Business has been hit-and-miss so far, with "Monster-in-Law" and "Kicking & Screaming" drawing the biggest crowds.
If you go
What: "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith."
Opens: Midnight Wednesday.
Where: Movies 10 at Westgate in Baxter, Sunset Cinema in Jenkins and other area theaters.
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson.
Written and directed by: George Lucas.
For show times and theaters: www.upnorthmoviefinder.com.
It's no accident that Sunset opened two-and-a-half weeks before the arrival of "Sith." Those 19 days have been warm-up time for the owners and staff.
"Other theaters have had 'Star Wars' before, and I'm sure they know what's going to happen," Clayton said. "We don't. We're just kind of prepared for whatever. We've got our staff prepared and I think we're ready for it."
The Sundvalls' boys, ages 13 and 15, aren't likely to be the first in line Wednesday night, even though their parents could probably pull a few strings.
"Our kids didn't grow up into 'Star Wars,'" Clayton said. "They're looking forward to 'Harry Potter' and 'The Longest Yard.' I'm not a big 'Star Wars' fan either. I don't really care for that type of movie."
Clayton and Sandy consider themselves fans of the movie-going experience rather than specific movies.
"My kids would say I like chick flicks," Sandy said with a laugh. "I just enjoy getting out and enjoying a good show."
"I always liked going to the movies once I was there, but for me it was always a hassle to slow down from working and go to a movie," Clayton said. "When I went I always thought the shows were great, but it was not something I specifically took time out of my weekends to do."
Now that Clayton has his own theater, he still hasn't found a lot of time for screen-gazing.
"I got to see part of 'Sahara,' but got pulled away from that," said Clayton, who harbors a mild distrust of projection equipment. "(Sandy) and the kids have seen some, but I'm always upstairs or doing whatever. Right now, I'm still watching (the projection equipment) because they're machines and they're quirky. For the most part they're pretty good, but every once in awhile you're going to have a little something. It's not fool-proof."
Betting on a big crowd Wednesday night? That's fool-proof.
"We're going to have ('Star Wars') for four weeks," Clayton said. "So there's a select group of people that want to see it at midnight. Other people I don't think are going to be that crazy. They know it's going to be here awhile."
JOHN HANSEN can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5863.
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